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Who is Brack Obama? What is his grounding, his ethos?
October 25, 2008
Who Is Barack Obama?
A timely submission from a Critically Thinking Christian.
As soon as it became apparent Barack Obama was going to win the Democratic nomination the internet became alive with data purporting to define him. Most of what I saw was negative. We live in a free country (so far) and people have a right to say as they please. I was concerned with all the negatives. Some of the “articles” cited excerpts from one or both of the books authored by Mr. Obama. I do not believe in judging people by what others, especially un-named persons, say.
In fairness to myself as well as to Mr. Obama, I decided to read his books and find out exactly what he did write and come to my own conclusions.
Am I qualified to read this material and make assumptions? Absolutely. I am because as a legal voter it is my privilege and my right to form opinions about candidates who ask for my vote.
I will separate the observations into three sections. Sections One and Two will address, in order, the two books read. They will be cited in order of publication. The Third section will be my conclusions.
I will not argue the issues Mr. Obama raised. I will only make observations about what he has said and the “messages” his statements send.
I will not address every statement or issue in these books that raise concern. There are just too many of them. Time would make it simply too cumbersome for you to have to read.
I will give my conclusions or opinions to what he has said. They are what I perceive. If he has another intent with what he has written then I would gladly listen. Not given that all I have to draw conclusion on as to what he says and who he is comes from these two books. You might ask me why I don’t listen to his speeches (I have heard some of them) to learn about him and his platform? Simple. When you read the statements he made regarding truth and politicians, you will understand why I don’t.
The Bible Teacher Classic, Volume 48, Number 4, by Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tennessee, p. 164 says “the way a writer tells a story gives a clue as to what he wants to say.”
Let us see just what Mr. Obama has said.
All citations in this Section will be taken from Dreams from my Father, Barack Obama, Three Rivers Press, New York, New York.
P. xiv, “My wife’s cousin, only six years old, has already lost such innocense. A few weeks ago he reported to his parents that some of his first grade classmates had refused to play with him because of his dark, unblemished skin”
Observation: Remembering the quotation from Randall House, “the way a writer tells a story gives a clue as to what he wants to say” Mr. Obama’s reference to his nephew’s “dark, unblemished skin” raised a flag. The dictionary defines “blemished” as “flawed or defective”. The Germanic root means “to make pale.” The implication appears to be that because his nephew did not have his African heritage “flawed” by “pale” skin, he was unblemished. Racism does not have to be “in your face.” It can be through elitism and carefully used words. Immediately in this book I am given the impression Mr. Obama is an elitist racist.
P. xv, “ ...I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites...”
Observation: Except for the years he spent in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather, Mr. Obama lived in Hawaii. He was not raised in a segregated mainland city. Where did he develop the we-them attitude of black-white? Being equally black and white, who taught him white was bad? Why did he choose? It was his white mother and white grandparents that tried to raise him and give him his needs, not his African father. And, how could a youth of that age formulate such a mind-set of denial and animosity?
P xvi, “ ...what has found its way into these pages is a record of a personal, interior journey...and through that search a workable meaning for his life as a black American....learning to accept that truth - that I can embrace my black brothers and sisters, whether in this country or in Africa, and affirm a common destiny without pretending to speak to , or for, all our various struggles - is part of what this book’s about.”
Observation: Adding this citation to those listed above and to the two following a clear picture is presented. On pp x and xi he wrote “ I know, have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless: how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi in much the same way as it does the lives of children on Chicago’s South Side, how narrow the path is for them between humiliation and untrammeled fury, how easily they slip into violence and despair. I know that the response of the powerful to this disorder - alternating as it does between dull complacency and, when disorder spills out of its proscribed confines, a steady, unthinking application of force, of longer prison sentences and more sophisticated military hardware - is inadequate to the task. “ On p xii he wrote about organizing in his mind thoughts “of civil rights litigation in bringing about racial equality...musings on affirmative action and Afro-centrism...”
His statements on pp x and xi are quite revealing. He says nothing about people being responsible for themselves and deciding that if their lives are going to be better they are the ones responsible for taking the action necessary to bring about those changes - as has most of America - black and white. He casts blame. First on the police who are required to take action when crime/violence takes place , “application of force.” A well known syndicated columnist recently wrote an article deriding the fact there was a greater concentration of police and more arrests in black communities than elsewhere. I called his hand on two points. One, police respond to calls for assistance and crimes committed. Just perhaps their presence is requested by law abiding citizens. Secondly, the police do not decide who violates the law. They are trained and bound by both an oath and law to impartially arrest those they either see violating law or have probable cause to believe they have violated law.
Mr. Obama then casts blame on the legislators who make law and establish penalties. In all fairness, laws and penalties are usually enacted to try to stop or control a behavior detrimental to society.
The statement he made re: “more sophisticated military hardware” is absolutely confusing. The development of military hardware has nothing to do with inner city crime. Why then the inclusion? Again “the way a writer tells a story gives a clue as to what he wants to say” Mr. Obama’s intent appears to be to negatively portray advancements/improvements in military hardware. These advancements have nothing to do with crime, so why? It can only be for one reason. To have a platform he can use to justify either a reduction in military preparedness or a serious curtailment of future advancements.
Mr. Obama wrote this book for the primary purpose of “ingratiating” himself to the African American populace. So far he has set the stage for endearing himself to the inner city. Anti police, anti law, anti military.
His reference to “musing” about Afro-centrism is not easily addressed. Is he referring to contemporary Afro-centricity which tries to establish a multi culturally balanced approach to sociology and history? Is it a positive tool for the African American community to use toward self determination? For economical and political empowerment? Or, is it retro? A move toward the rejection of western values combined with a return to love for mother Africa? Afro-centrism has moved from the latter to the earlier in its philosophy.
Pp 29,30, Relaying the story of a black man who had “received a chemical treatment…to lighten his complexion” Mr. Obama went on to say, “I felt my face flush and neck get hot. My stomach knotted; the type began to blur on the page.”
First, let us clear this one issue. A person cannot choose their ethnicity. Neither should they regret what they are or wish themselves something else. People should take pride in whatever race they are. We are all equal. No race is better than another.
Observation: Again, there are troubling issues here. How could a nine year old be so ethnic defensive, especially since he was raised by whites and lived most of his life in Hawaii? We are faced with two obvious answers to this dilemma. First, it did not happen and the story is reflective and embellished for the sake of the intended audience. Secondly, it is true, in which case we must wonder who, either in Hawaii or the two years he spent in Indonesia, was his teacher on the subject.
P 37, “Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate.” (Lolo was his Indonesian step-father.)
P 38, “So it was to Lolo that I turned for guidance and instruction.”
Observation: Self explanatory.
P 86, Only Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will…And yet, even as I imagined myself following Malcolm’s call, one line in the book stayed with me. He spoke of a wish he’d once had, the wish that the white blood that ran through him, there by an act of violence, might somehow be expunged. ..I knew as well that traveling down the road to self-respect my own white blood would never recede into mere abstraction. I was left to wonder what else I would be severing if and when I left my mother and my grandparents at some uncharted border.”
Observation: Again, why choose between being black and being white? What is wrong with being both – as he is? Was he just pandering to the audience by suggesting he would sever his white heritage? If so he was being hypocritical to them. Was he sincere? If so, he just told his white heritage and with it also all whites they are insignificant in his life. Either way he is wrong. Quite a hole to dig.
P 86, “And, too: If Malcolm‘s discovery toward the ends of his life, that some whites might live beside him as brothers in Islam, seemed to offer some hope of eventual reconciliation, that hope appeared in a distant future, in a far-off land. In the meantime, I looked to see where the people would come from who were willing to work toward the future and populate this new world.”
Observation: The question is simple. Who is willing to work with him as brothers in Islam (The Nation of Islam) to create a new world? This was not posed here by Malcolm X, it was posed by Barack Obama!
P 93, “Pot had helped, and booze, maybe a little blow when you could afford it.”
Observation: The president who “didn’t inhale” had a difficult time with the pot question. The sitting president was much maligned over his admission of drinking in his youth. This man admits freely to doing both but goes on to say he readily used cocaine whenever he could afford it. Where is the outcry that demonized presidents Clinton and Bush?
P 100, “Their confusion made me question my own racial credentials all over again” … “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists…”
Observation: It is disconcerting that a man would align himself with such a company as this to avoid being thought white or mainstream white. It indicates a lack of integrity, a lack of self confidence, and a willingness to attach himself with any radical or fringe group for the sake of compromise.
Pp101,102, “Tim was not a conscious brother. Tim wore argyle sweaters and pressed jeans and talked like Beaver Cleaver. He planned to major in business. His white girlfriend was probably waiting for him up in his room, listening to country music. He was happy as a clam, and I wanted nothing more than for him to go away”
“’Tim’s a trip, ain’t he,’ I said, shaking my head. ’Should change his name from Tim to Tom.’”
(Note: Later in the book Mr. Obama states regret for these comments. That still does not make them right. They reflect his mind set at the time. He was not a child searching for identity. He was a grown man in college.)
Observation: If ever pure racism and bigotry were obvious, it is here. He first degrades his friend because he doesn’t dress, or act, like a “conscious brother.” He then denigrated both Tim and Tim’s girlfriend. It was not necessary to identify her as “white”. Doing so was for two purposes. One, to appeal to his readers. (A question would be in order here. Why is bigotry and/or racism not bigotry or racism when it is applied by blacks? )
Two, make himself better than someone else. There is no smaller a human alive than one who puts another one down to make themselves look good.
He then alludes to Tim’s girlfriend listening to country music. I would offer that, in all likelihood, she did not like country music. This was a slur. Country music=red neck=low life= someone not as good as “me.”
His dearth continued. He then suggested changing Tim’s name to Tom. How ugly. How pompous. How low can you go? His suggestion was simple. Tom was only part of the “name.” The implication was to change Tim’s name to “Uncle Tom.” A derogatory term given to a black man perceived to be either compromising with whites or not radical enough with his blackness.
P 124, "The emotions between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing in ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always be just that: menacing, alien, and apart."
Observation: This statement stands contradictory to all the mixed marriages that were successful and filled with love and respect, and to all the mixed race friendships and cooperative endeavors that have endured. It says, "We and them," and tells the world the two cannot get along. It is divisive. It is destructive.
P. 139, "In search of some inspiration, I went to hear Kwame Toure', formerly Stokely Carmichael of SNNC and Black Power fame, speak at Columbia. At the entrance to the auditorium, two women, one black, one Asian, were selling Marxist literature..."
Observation: "In search of some inspiration" Usually people needing inspiration will seek something that satisfies their bent or inclination. For instances, a blues lover seeking inspiration might listen to Robert Cray or B.B. King. An opera aficionado might listen to Carmen. In this section Mr. Obama simply said he needed his "desire" for a certain thing satisfied.
Before we try to see what that "thing" is, we need to understand who Stokely Carmichael was. I will simply quote from Answers.com:
"as Haskins recorded in Profiles in Black Power, Carmichael gave the term a different spin when he spoke to African American audiences: "When you talk of 'black power,' you talk of building a movement that will smash everything Western civilization has created."
"Carmichael had traveled the world denouncing the United States, speaking to cheering throngs in Cuba, and declaring, "We do not want peace in Vietnam. We want the Vietnamese people to defeat the United States."
"The 1992 Los Angeles rebellion [civil unrest following the acquittal by a white jury of the four police officers who had been videotaped beating African American motorist Rodney King] reflects this reality; other oppressed nationalities joined the rebellion in mass character." Carmichael told the crowd at Michigan State that the riots "were good for us." He insisted in his conclusion to the Black Power afterward that "mass political organization on a Pan African scale is the only solution. Thus, Black Power can only be realized when there exists a unified socialist Africa."
So, Mr., Obama had to get some "inspiration" from that man. "smash everything Western civilization has built." "defeat the United States." "Black Power can only be realized when there exists a unified socialist Africa."
P.154, "In Indonesia I had spent two years in a Muslim school:
Observation: He said it.
P. 193, "Later, I would realize that the position of most black students in predominantly white colleges was already too tenuous, our identities too scrambled, to admit to ourselves that our black pride remained incomplete. And to admit our doubt and confusion to whites, to open up our psyches to general examination by those who had caused so much of the damage in the first place, seemed ludicrous, itself an expression of self-hatred - for there seemed no reason to expect that whites would look at our private struggles as a mirror into their own souls, rather than yet more evidence of black pathology."
Observation: If these statements were being made by someone with a slave heritage, raised in an inner city environment, denied opportunities because of their color, I would say, "Amen." But, they were not. They were from a man with NO association with ANY black slaves on this continent, raised in a middle class Hawaiian environment, who attended the best prep schools and universities. All this brings us back to his original premise for this book. To associate himself with the American black struggle. It puts me in mind of a multimillionaire politician emerging from his gated estate standing on a platform before a struggling factory crowd and saying, "I'm one of you. I feel your pain." I really guess hypocrisy has no limits. But he did do one thing. He did get in the point that all the problems (apparently of identity and pride) of these students attending a mostly white college were caused by the whites. If everyone that ever had a problem in this world did nothing but blame someone else, nothing would ever get accomplished and no one would ever improve themselves.
P. 195, "The stories that I had been hearing from the leadership, all the records of courage and sacrifice and overcoming of great odds, hadn't simply arisen from struggles with pestilence or drought, or even mere poverty. They had arisen out of a very particular experience with hate. That hate hadn't gone away; it formed a counter narrative buried deep within each person and at the center of which stood white people - some cruel, some ignorant, sometimes a single face, sometimes just a faceless image of a system claiming power over our lives. I had to ask myself whether the bonds of community could ever be restored without collectively exorcizing that ghostly figure that haunted black dreams."
Observation: I simply refer you to the above observation.
Pp 197-200, "Ever since the first time I'd picked up Malcolm X's autobiography, I had tried to untangle the two strand of black nationalism, arguing that nationalism's affirming message - of solidarity and self-reliance, discipline and communal responsibility - need not depend on hatred of whites any more that it depended on white munificence."
"Nationalism provided that history, an unambiguous morality tale that was easily communicated and easily grasped. A steady attack on the white race, the constant recitation of black people's experience in this country....Yes, the nationalist would say, whites are responsible for your sorry state, not any inherent flaws in you. In fact, whites are so heartless and devious that we can no longer expect anything from them. The self-loathing you feel, what keeps you drinking or thieving, is planted by them. Rid them from your mind and find your true power liberated. Rise up, ye mighty race."
"This process of removing ourselves, this means of engaging in self-criticism, helped explain the much-admired success of the Nation of Islam."
...I wondered whether, for now at least, Rafiq wasn't also right in preferring that the anger be redirected; whether a black politics that suppressed rage toward whites generally, or one that failed to elevate race loyalty above all else, was a politics inadequate to the task." "If nationalism could create a strong and effective insularity, deliver on its promise of self-respect, then the hurt it might cause well-meaning whites...would be of little consequence."
Note: Let me first explain Nationalism as used by Obama. The Nation of Islam preaches adherence to the Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith: shahadah, or profession of faith; salat, or prayer, five times daily facing toward Mecca. (Wikipedia).
Even so, it is not truly Islamic.
Michael Young, Features Editor for Islam for Today wrote this; "In contrast, the NOI has a pronounced anti-white bias. They refer to blacks as God's chosen people and Caucasians as white devils. They call for a separate homeland for American blacks, for racially segregated education and for a ban on interracial marriage. To quote again from their website:
From Wikipedia: [In] the 1930s the Nation of Islam emerged, coming to prominence during the 1960s, when charismatic minister Malcolm X became a spokesman for the movement. The group's founders, "Master Fard" Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad, preached the Doctrine of Yakub, which held that the Original Man was an "Asiatic black man." White people, it contended, were "grafted" from black people 6,000 years ago by an ancient black scientist named Yakub. The belief in sacrificial killing and ritualistic murder was part of the early Nation of Islam doctrine. Fard thought explicitly that it was the duty for every Muslim to offer as sacrifice four "Caucasian devils". A portion of Fard's lesson reads as follows:
Why does Fard Mohammad and any Moslem murder the devil? What is the duty of each Moslem in regard to four devils? What reward does a Moslem receive by presenting the four devils at one time? -- Because he is one hundred percent wicked and will not keep and obey the laws of Islam. His ways and actions are like a snake of the grafted type. So Mohammad learned that he could not reform the devils, so they had to be murdered. All Moslems will murder the devil because they know he is a snake and also if he be allowed to live, he would sting someone else. Each Moslem is required to bring four devils, and by bringing and presenting four at one time his reward is a button to wear on the laple of his coat, also a free transportation to the Holy City of Mecca.
This teaching also culminated in the creation of the Death Angels, a small splinter group of the Nation of Islam. Between 1972 and 1974, the Death Angels murdered 14 white people in the San Francisco Bay area. These murders later would become known as the Zebra murders because the police used Radio Z to communicate about the case
The New Black Panther Party (NBPP), whose formal name is the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, is a U.S.-based black power organization founded in Dallas, Texas in 1989. The NBPP attracted many breakaway members of the Nation of Islam when former Nation of Islam minister and spokesman Khalid Abdul Muhammad, infamous for his virulent anti-Semitism and racism, became the national chairman of the group from the late 1990s until his death in 2001.
The cosmology of the NOI was exotic but carefully crafted to offer a millenarian vision to African Americans, promising a future apocalypse for the evil (whites) and salvation to the true believers (blacks or "Original People"). According to Fard's theology, an insane scientist, Yakub, who lived 6,000 years ago, grafted a new human species from the Original People. Over time, the grafted species mutated and became white. An angry God looked with disfavor on the manipulations of Yakub and decreed that the white race of people he created would rule for 6,000 years and then be vanquished. At that point, the Original People would inherit a world where true nirvana would reign (Answers.com)
(From Answers.com the following was taken)
The official platform of beliefs as stated by Elijah Muhammad in Message to the Blackman in America published in 1965 are as follows verbatim:
4. We want our people in America whose parents or grandparents were descendants from slaves to be allowed, to establish separate state or territory of their own -- either on this continent or elsewhere. We believe that our former slave-masters are obligated to provide such land and that the area must be fertile and minerally rich. We believe that our former slave-masters are obligated to maintain and supply our needs in this separate territory for the next 20 or 25 years until we are able to produce and supply our own needs. Since we cannot get along with them in peace and equality after giving them 400 years of our sweat and blood and receiving in return some of the worst treatment human beings have ever experienced, we believe our contributions to this land and the suffering forced upon us by white America justifies our demand for complete separation in a state or territory of our own.
Observation: Obama has well stated his affinity with the Nation of Islam. He has also stated regarding teaching of separatism, militancy, and reparation " If nationalism could create a strong and effective insularity, deliver on its promise of self-respect, then the hurt it might cause well-meaning whites...would be of little consequence."
The following were taken from The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama, Three Rivers Press, New York, New York, 2006.
P.90, " Ultimately, though, I have to side with Justice Breyer's view of the Constitution - that it is not a static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world."
Observation: The Constitution was not written for the world. It was not written to address the issues of the world, the desires of the world, nor the opinions of the world. The Constitution was written for America. It set us apart from the rest of the world. To redefine any of the provisions of the Constitution to coincide with changing world opinion would be saying we are not the United States of America but "A State of the World." That we are not. It was not established to be so.
But, then, this is from a man that believes the provisions of the Geneva Convention apply to combatants in Afghanistan ( and though not mentioned, by association, probably Iraq, also). As I recall the contents of the Geneva Convention, it specifically states combatants are to be afforded specific rights IF (among others), they (1) wear distinctly marked clothing (that is the reason those caught on the battle field not so dressed have ALWAYS been categorized as “spies” and executed); (2) also, if they afford to their captured enemies (U.S and ally soldiers) humane treatment. They torture, sometimes for days, then mutilate, and, finally kill ALL captured US soldiers. They DO NOT qualify for treatment afforded under the Convention.
Secondly, this is from a man who repeatedly refers to himself as a teacher of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. I thought he was a guest lecturer!
But then to a man who feels the bench is a political platform to enact laws instead of interpreting them in light of the Constitution, these things would not be wrong. (P 83 he said, “Instead of relying on Senate procedures, there was one way to ensure that judges on the bench reflected out values, and that was to win at the polls.?”
In case you miss the point, this is what it appears to say. “In case we can’t LEGALLY pass legislation to get the laws and/or changes we want, lets win at the polls, and appoint judges who will legislate those laws and changes from the bench. That way we can circumvent the legislative process as outlined in the Constitution and get our way through the back door through crony judges who do not see the Constitution as a sacred document to be used as a guide in interpreting law, but see their bench as a platform to enact social and legislative change even though the Constitution does not grant them that right.” He seems to forget the legislature and the PEOPLE, through majority vote, enact laws. Not judges.
But, then, he is a teacher of law. So he says.
Pp 127, 128, “Today’s politician understands this. He may not lie, but he understands that there is no great reward in store for those who speak the truth, particularly when the truth may be complicated. The truth may cause consternation; the truth will be attacked; the media won’t have the patience to sort out all the facts and so the public may not know the difference between truth and false - hood. What comes to matter then is positioning - the statement on an issue that will avoid controversy or generate needed publicity, the stance that will fit both the image his press folks have constructed for him and one of the narrative boxes the media has created for politics in general. The politician may still, as a matter of personal integrity, insist on telling the truth as he sees it. But he doe so knowing that whether he believes in his positions matters less than whether he looks like he believes; that straight talk counts less than whether it sounds straight on TV”
Observation: An attorney outside a courtroom once told me that the final decision in a court of law was not predicated on truth; the final decisions are always based on which side can play the best game. Mr. Obama has just said the same thing. Truth to a politician is irrelevant. Saying what has to be said to appease the press and “swoon” the people is all that matters. I find such an attitude very condescending. I am not stupid. And I believe most Americans are not stupid.
Perhaps that is the reason Mr. Obama can speak ten minutes on a subject, sound very eloquent, and not say one relative thing, positively or negatively.
P.216, 217 Contrary to the claims of many on the Christian right who rail against the separation of church and state, their argument is not with a handful of liberal judges. It is with the drafters of the Bill of Rights and the forebears of today’s evangelical church.
Observation: True, there were religious leaders involved in the framing of the Bill of Rights. That is not the issue. The issue is the removal of any and all that is of a religious nature from our public buildings and property. Do you not think that the framers of the Bill of Rights, upon seeing the many religious inscriptions being placed on every public building and prayer commencing every public meeting from the formation of our democracy, that they - those that drafted the Bill - would have stood up and said, “Stop, that is not right.”? They did not. Because simply that was not their intent. The intent was not to remove religion from the public and public places, the intent was to prevent government from mandating - MANDATING - a particular religion on the people. Choice is not a mandate. The option to pray or not to pray is not mandating.
P. 219, “What our deliberative, pluralistic democracy does demand is that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals must be subject to argument and amenable to reason. If I am opposed to abortion for religious reasons and seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or invoke God’s will and expect that argument to carry the day. If I want others to listen to me, then I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.”
Observation: Any debate must have two sides. One pro, one con. The rules for the debate must be recognized. In the discussion about a legislative issue there are two sides. One for, one against. The rules get murky. Mr. Obama has already said that truth to a politician was an irrelevant thing, so we can conclude that truth will not be afforded much standing.
If, by chance, truth becomes an issue in the discussion we are forced to concede that without a moral compass the “truths” presented, for or against, will be subjective. The end result will be the never ending quagmire of useless discussion and anemic legislation. Subjective truth is not truth, it is baseless opinion.
For “truth” to be relevant it must have a moral compass. For truth to be objective it must be guided by an external principle. For truth to be truth it must be absolute and not subject to societal shift or ideological whims. Truth is not based on what man determines to be true. And , definitely, truth is not based on what a politician has determined to be truth. Truth must be based on an external irrefutable principle. The only external irrefutable, eternal, absolute; the same yesterday, today, and forever principle, is God.
Pp 219, 220, “At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitment may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.”
Observation: Truth. Misunderstanding. Truth. Revealing.
Truth. “At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise.” Doing what is morally right, being ethical, living a good (holy) life, caring for one another, serving God. No compromise. Never. I do not see a problem with this. Do you?
Misunderstanding. “If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences.” God has never instructed any child of grace to do anything contrary to the good will of that person. Never.
Truth. “To base ones life on such uncompromising commitment may be sublime.” Absolutely. It is very commendable to live right and do right. It is bold hypocrisy to claim to be a Christian and to deny God the right to instruct our lives.
Revealing. “To base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.” If I understand this correctly, Obama has said that to base policy on what is right, what is good, is dangerous. I refer back to the observations made for the citations from page 219.
P 222, “”All too often I have sat in a church and heard a pastor use gay bashing as a cheap parlor trick....usually when the sermon is not going too well....I am not willing to have the state deny American citizens a civil union that confers equivalent rights on such basic matters as hospital visitation or health insurance coverage simply because the people they love are of the same sex - nor am I willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.”
Observation: Mr. Obama’s pro stand on homosexual union is well stated. I want to comment on the later part of this statement.
I have studied and taught both the Sermon on the Mount and Romans for nearly thirty years. I believe I am qualified to expound on both. Regarding his citing the Sermon on the Mount in defense of his stand on homosexuality I simply ask this, “ What on earth is he talking about?” The Sermon on the Mount doesn’t even contain a hint of this subject.
Oh, I forgot. Truth. Politician. Irrelevant.
Now to the passage in Romans. Obama said it was “obscure.” Let us see just how “obscure” the citation in Romans is.
The last verse of that chapter says, in part, this,
“they which commit such things are worthy of death.”
Now, before anyone misunderstands this, allow me to explain. Under the penalty of the Law not only these deeds but all those mentioned in verses 29 through 30 were included. The thing people miss is that we are not living under the Law. We are living under grace. And, just as any sin committed (except blasphemy against the Holy Ghost) is forgivable under grace, so are these sins. God does not group sins as “large” or “small” as did the Pharisees. Sin is sin. And, by the grace of God, all sins can be washed away by the blood of Christ. All. Even these.
But God is adamant. Sin is sin. It does not matter what the “politically correct” proponents rename it, to God it is still sin. Lying is sin. Theft is sin. Adultery is sin. Renaming them does not change God’s definition of them.
And, here, Paul clearly cites lesbianism and homosexuality as sin. People miss an important point here. Paul is not “fingering” certain behavior for censorship. I fear too many pastors and churches do. Paul continues in chapter two, verse one with “Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” Before commenting I want to cite another passage:
Paul has made it very clear to the church. Be careful when you throw stones at those not in the family of believers. Be careful when you point fingers and wag your tongues, remember “such were some of you”. Please note the past tense “were.”
A great injustice is done by the church when it becomes condemning. Mr. Obama missed the point of the Sermon on the Mount entirely. Christ was showing the church that his followers were to be light (distinct), salt (difference makers) and were to live in such a manner, in all the circumstances life brings their way, that people (those not in the church, those cited by Paul in Romans 1) will take note and want to serve their God because of the positive influence they give. That is not done through condemning. It is not done by ostracizing. It is not done by declaring a “we-them” position. It is done by living a positive influencing life and getting people to understand that the grace of God can change any man or woman that wants a clean heart and a new life.
No, Mr. Obama, Romans does not support gay lifestyles. Paul wrote Romans to tell all of us, even those involved in ALL the behaviors listed in that first chapter, that WE ALL need the righteousness of God. None of us are sufficient in ourselves to live in such a way we please God. We need Him. We need the righteousness of His Son, Jesus, imputed to us. Our will does not do it. Our works will not do it. Our name will not do it. Our office will not do it. Our money will not do it. Only that righteousness imputed to us through the finished work of Christ on the cross will make us fit for God.
P 226, One of his daughters asked him “what happened when we die...” He went on to write this, “I wasn’t sure what happens when we die, any more than I was sure of where the soul resides or what existed before the Big Bang.”
Observation: I will simply offer this. Any man, born again, attending a Bible believing church for twenty years would have had an answer for that child. It is in the Bible. It should have been read; it should have been in sermons; it should have been in Bible study. Not to be able to give a definitive answer raises a great big red flag.
Pp 245, 246, “And what would help minority workers are the same things that would help white workers: the opportunity to earn a living wage, the education and training that lead to such jobs, labor laws and tax laws that restore some balance to the distribution of the nation’s wealth...”
Observation: The Preamble to the Constitution says that “all men are created equal.” It does not say the we are a socialist society and those who work and try hard and have success must give to those who don’t. Redistribution of wealth is not a new doctrine. In fact it has well been covered by Marx. It was China, Russia and North Korea, North Viet Nam that adopted the theory. It appears Mr. Obama is suggesting we go economically down that road.
P 289, “ I bemoaned the effect of Reagan’s policies...the invasion of tiny, hapless Grenada. The more I studied nuclear arms policy, the more I found Star Wars to be ill conceived...”
Observation: News alert Mr. Obama. The U.S did not invade Granada. The U.S. WENT to Granada to rid that country of an invading Marxist Cuban army that had taken the country, and with it had taken hodstage many US citizens studying at the University there. I wonder. Does he have a problem with freeing US hostages? Or, does he have a problem with interfering with the illegitimate invasion of a free country by Marxist armies?
Secondly, having only worked as a “community organizer” and never for any entity directly or indirectly involved in nuclear proliferation or anti-missile systems, Mr. Obama’s take on these two subjects bother me. It was only the theory of MAD that kept the world from World War III. To reduce our capabilities to a level prohibiting us from annihilating any and all enemies who would attack us is to kick the doors down and invite them in. Our nuclear capabilities have kept us from catastrophe. What is wrong with Star Wars? What is wrong with having an anti-missile system so effective it prevents most enemy missiles from reaching our soil? Discussion and/or compromise is one thing. Weakening our offensive and defensive capabilities to the point we are ineffective and vulnerable is both reckless and irresponsible.
P.208, “I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ one day and be baptized.”
Observation: I moved this to last on purpose. I will not denigrate the fine people of the Trinity church with negatives, and I will not belittle Rev. Wright any more. The media has had a field day of doing that.
I only want to remark about Mr. Obama. He spent twenty years in the Trinity Church, yet he has no clue about what happens to a person’s soul after death and he hasn’t a clue about the contents of Scriptures. For instance, on p 218 of this book he said, regarding teaching religion in school, “Whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? James Dobson’s or Al Sharpston’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus which suggests that slavery is all right and eating shellfish is an abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage so radical that it’s doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application?”
I do not understand his glib remarks about Dr. Dobson being involved in teaching. First, Dr. Dobson is not a theologian so he would not even purport to introduce a doctrine. Dr. Dobson served as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years. In addition, he has the following credentials, copied from his Focus on the Family web site:
Awards and Recognition
Dr. Dobson was chosen as Layman of the Year by the National Association of Evangelicals in 1982. He was honored in 1987 as "The Children's Friend" by CHILDHELP USA, an organization devoted to the prevention of child abuse. He received the Alumni Merit Award from the University of Southern California General Alumni Association (1989); the Humanitarian Award by the California State Psychological Association (1988); the "Philip Award" from the United Methodist Church (1994); the "1996 Man of the Year Award" by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; and 1997 International Human Life Award from Human Life International; Salvation Army "Others" Award (1999); the "Christian Counseling in the Media Award" from the Board of Directors of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS)(1999);the Catholic Alliance Family Advocate of the Year Award (2001); and the "Proudly Pro-Life Award," given by the National Right to Life (2002); the "Churchill Award" for Courageous and Committed Service to the Conservative Cause from the Council for National Policy (2002); the Fellowship of Christian Athletes "Tom Landry Award" (2003); and Marketplace Ministries "Integrity in Family Award" (2004); Promise Keepers "Trail Blazer Award" (2005); Indiana Wesleyan University's Society of World Changers induction (2005); the First Baptist Church of Dallas' "W.A. Criswell Lifetime Christian Citizenship Award" (2006); the inaugural Family Research Council "Vison and Leadership Award" (2007); and the Ma’ayaney Hayeshua Medical Center "Defender of Life" award (2007); and, National Radio Hall of Fame inductee for the Focus on the Family broadcast (2008).
Advocate for the Family
Dr. Dobson has been heavily involved in governmental activities related to the family. He served on the task force which summarized the White House Conference on Families and received a special commendation from President Jimmy Carter in 1980. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the National Advisory Commission to the office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1982-84. From 1984-87 he was regularly invited to the White House to consult with President Reagan and his staff on family matters. He served as co-chairman of the Citizens Advisory Panel for Tax Reform, in consultation with President Reagan, and served as a member and later chairman of the United States Army's Family Initiative, 1986-88.
He was appointed to Attorney General Edwin Meese's Commission on Pornography, 1985-86. Dr. Dobson was also appointed in the spring of 1987 to the Attorney General's Advisory Board on Missing and Exploited Children, and to Secretary Otis Bowen's Panel on Teen Pregnancy Prevention, within the Department of Health and Human Services. In October, 1987, he received the Marian Pfister Anschutz Award in recognition of his contribution to the American family. A videotaped message of congratulations was sent by President Reagan. He also consulted with President George Bush on family-related matters. In December, 1994, Dr. Dobson was appointed by Senator Robert Dole to the Commission on Child and Family Welfare and in October, 1996, was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission.”
I would not mind this man being involved in teaching my children.
I have no clue as to Al Sharpston’s qualifications.
Mr. Obama’s references to the passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy only reflect total ignorance. Any “Christian” with the least amount of Bible literacy knows those Old Testament Laws passed with the coming of grace at Calvary. To use them in argument is to demonstrate an absolute misunderstanding of Scriptures.
He again uses the Sermon on the Mount to prove a point. Only the Sermon on the Mount does not say what he said it says. When Jesus said “love your enemies” He did not mean top get a warm fuzzy feeling for those trying to kill you on a battle field. You do that and you die. He is talking about having a loving attitude toward those who would oppose you in your service to God, those who would make your walk as a Christian difficult. It is only by doing so we stand the chance of being the positive witness that causes them to want to serve the God we serve.
Mr. Obama spent twenty years in a church that teaches Black Liberation Theology.
An on the air interview with Rev. Wright by a commentator revealed that. Rev. Wright even vehemently defended the doctrine.
For those who do not know what that theology is, following are citations copied from the web. Credits are given.
We must begin with the definition of Liberation Theology before we can proceed to Black Liberation Theology:
Liberation theology, a term first used in 1973 by Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian Roman Catholic priest, is a school of thought among Latin American Catholics according to which the Gospel of Christ demands that the church concentrate its efforts on liberating the people of the world from poverty and oppression
Liberation theology accepts the two-pronged "challenge of the Enlightenment" (Juan Sobrino). These two critical elements shape liberation theology's biblical hermeneutic. The first challenge comes through the philosophical perspective begun by Immanuel Kant, which argued for the autonomy of human reason. Theology is no longer worked out in response to God's self-disclosure through the divine-human authorship of the Bible. This revelation from "outside" is replaced by the revelation of God found in the matrix of human interaction with history. The second challenge comes through the political perspective founded by Karl Marx, which argues that man's wholeness can be realized only through overcoming the alienating political and economic structures of society. The role of Marxism in liberation theology must be honestly understood. Some critics have implied that liberation theology and Marxism are indistinguishable, but this is not completely accurate.
Liberation theologians agree with Marx's famous statement: "Hitherto philosophers have explained the world; our task is to change it." They argue that theologians are not meant to be theoreticians but practitioners engaged in the struggle to bring about society's transformation. In order to do this liberation theology employs a Marxist-style class analysis, which divides the culture between oppressors and oppressed. This conflictual sociological analysis is meant to identify the injustices and exploitation within the historical situation. Marxism and liberation theology condemn religion for supporting the status quo and legitimating the power of the oppressor. But unlike Marxism, liberation theology turns to the Christian faith as a means for bringing about liberation. Marx failed to see the emotive, symbolic, and sociological force the church could be in the struggle for justice. Liberation theologians claim that they are not departing from the ancient Christian tradition when they use Marxist thought as a tool for social analysis. They do not claim to use Marxism as a philosophical world view or a comprehensive plan for political action. Human liberation may begin with the economic infrastructure, but it does not end there.
Liberation theologians believe that the orthodox doctrine of God tends to manipulate God in favor of the capitalistic social structure. They claim that orthodoxy has been dependent upon ancient Greek notions of God that perceived God as a static being who is distant and remote from human history. These distorted notions of God's transcendence and majesty have resulted in a theology which thinks of God as "up there" or "out there." Consequently the majority of Latin Americans have become passive in the face of injustice and superstitious in their religiosity. Liberation theology responds by stressing the incomprehensible mysteriousness of the reality of God. God cannot be summarized in objectifying language or known through a list of doctrines. God is found in the course of human history. God is not a perfect, immutable entity, "squatting outside the world." He stands before us on the frontier of the historical future (Assmann). God is the driving force of history causing the Christian to experience transcendence as a "permanent cultural revolution" (Gutierrez). Suffering and pain become the motivating force for knowing God. The God of the future is the crucified God who submerges himself in a world of misery. God is found on the crosses of the oppressed rather than in beauty, power, or wisdom.
The biblical notion of salvation is equated with the process of liberation from oppression and injustice. Sin is defined in terms of man's inhumanity to man. Liberation theology for all practical purposes equates loving your neighbor with loving God. The two are not only inseparable but virtually indistinguishable. God is found in our neighbor and salvation is identified with the history of "man becoming." The history of salvation becomes the salvation of history embracing the entire process of humanization. Biblical history is important insofar as it models and illustrates this quest for justice and human dignity. Israel's liberation from Egypt in the Exodus and Jesus' life and death stand out as the prototypes for the contemporary human struggle for liberation. These biblical events signify the spiritual significance of secular struggle for liberation.
The church and the world can no longer be segregated. The church must allow itself to be inhabited and evangelized by the world. "A theology of the Church in the world should be complemented by a theology of the world in the Church" (Gutierrez). Joining in solidarity with the oppressed against the oppressors is an act of "conversion," and "evangelization" is announcing God's participation in the human struggle for justice.
The importance of Jesus for liberation theology lies in his exemplary struggle for the poor and the outcast. His teaching and action on behalf of the kingdom of God demonstrate the love of God in a historical situation that bears striking similarity to the Latin American context. The meaning of the incarnation is reinterpreted. Jesus is not God in an ontological or metaphysical sense. Essentialism is replaced with the notion of Jesus' relational significance. Jesus shows us the way to God; he reveals the way one becomes the son of God. The meaning of Jesus' incarnation is found in his total immersion in a historical situation of conflict and oppression. His life absolutizes the values of the kingdom, unconditional love, universal forgiveness, and continual reference to the mystery of the Father. But it is impossible to do exactly what Jesus did simply because his specific teaching was oriented to a particular historical period. On one level Jesus irreversibly belongs to the past, but on another level Jesus is the zenith of the evolutionary process. In Jesus history reaches its goal. However, following Jesus is not a matter of retracing his path, trying to adhere to his moral and ethical conduct, as much as it is re-creating his path by becoming open to his "dangerous memory" which calls our path into question. The uniqueness of Jesus' cross lies not in the fact that God, at a particular point in space and time, experienced the suffering intrinsic to man's sinfulness in order to provide a way of redemption. Jesus' death is not a vicarious offering on behalf of mankind who deserve God's wrath. Jesus' death is unique because he historicizes in exemplary fashion the suffering experienced by God in all the crosses of the oppressed. Liberation theology holds that through Jesus' life people are brought to the liberating conviction that God does not remain outside of history indifferent to the present course of evil events but that he reveals himself through the authentic medium of the poor and oppressed.
The strength of liberation theology is in its compassion for the poor and its conviction that the Christian should not remain passive and indifferent to their plight. Man's inhumanity to man is sin and deserves the judgment of God and Christian resistance. Liberation theology is a plea for costly discipleship and a reminder that follow Jesus has practical social and political consequences.
Liberation theology's weakness stems from an application of misleading hermeneutical principles and a departure from historic Christian faith. Liberation theology rightly condemns a tradition that attempts to use God for its own ends but wrongly denies God's definitive selfdisclosure in biblical revelation. To argue that our conception of God is determined by the historical situation is to agree with radical secularity in absolutizing the temporal process, making it difficult to distinguish between theology and ideology.
Marxism may be a useful tool in identifying the class struggle that is being waged in many Third World countries, but the question arises whether the role of Marxism is limited to a tool of analysis or whether it has become a political solution. Liberation theology rightly exposes the fact of oppression in society and the fact that there are oppressors and oppressed, but it is wrong to give this alignment an almost ontological status. This may be true in Marxism, but the Christian understands sin and alienation from God as a dilemma confronting both the oppressor and the oppressed. Liberation theology's emphasis upon the poor gives the impression that the poor are not only the object of God's concern but the salvific and revelatory subject. Only the cry of the oppressed is the voice of God. Everything else is projected as a vain attempt to comprehend God by some self-serving means. This is a confused and misleading notion. Biblical theology reveals that God is for the poor, but it does not teach that the poor are the actual embodiment of God in today's world . Liberation theology threatens to politicize the gospel to the point that the poor are offered a solution that could be provided with or without Jesus Christ.
Liberation theology stirs Christians to take seriously the social and political impact of Jesus' life and death but fails to ground Jesus' uniqueness in the reality of his deity. It claims he is different from us by degree, not by kind, and that his cross is the climax of his vicarious identification with suffering mankind rather than a substitutionary death offered on our behalf to turn away the wrath of God and triumph over sin, death, and the devil. A theology of the cross which isolates Jesus' death from its particular place in God's design and shuns the disclosure of its revealed meaning is powerless to bring us to God, hence assuring the perpetuity of our theological abandonment.
D D Webster
The Marxist Roots of Black Liberation Theology.
by Anthony B. Bradley
What is Black Liberation Theology anyway? Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright catapulted black liberation theology onto a national stage, when America discovered Trinity United Church of Christ. Understanding the background of the movement might give better clarity into Wright's recent vitriolic preaching. A clear definition of black theology was first given formulation in 1969 by the National Committee of Black Church Men in the midst of the civil-rights movement:
Black theology is a theology of black liberation. It seeks to plumb the black condition in the light of God's revelation in Jesus Christ, so that the black community can see that the gospel is commensurate with the achievements of black humanity. Black theology is a theology of 'blackness.' It is the affirmation of black humanity that emancipates black people from White racism, thus providing authentic freedom for both white and black people. It affirms the humanity of white people in that it says 'No' to the encroachment of white oppression.
In the 1960s, black churches began to focus their attention beyond helping blacks cope with national racial discrimination particularly in urban areas.
The notion of "blackness" is not merely a reference to skin color, but rather is a symbol of oppression that can be applied to all persons of color who have a history of oppression (except whites, of course). So in this sense, as Wright notes, "Jesus was a poor black man" because he lived in oppression at the hands of "rich white people." The overall emphasis of Black Liberation Theology is the black struggle for liberation from various forms of "white racism" and oppression.
James Cone, the chief architect of Black Liberation Theology in his book A Black Theology of Liberation (1970), develops black theology as a system. In this new formulation, Christian theology is a theology of liberation -- "a rational study of the being of God in the world in light of the existential situation of an oppressed community, relating the forces of liberation to the essence of the gospel, which is Jesus Christ," writes Cone. Black consciousness and the black experience of oppression orient black liberation theology -- i.e., one of victimization from white oppression.
One of the tasks of black theology, says Cone, is to analyze the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ in light of the experience of oppressed blacks. For Cone, no theology is Christian theology unless it arises from oppressed communities and interprets Jesus' work as that of liberation. Christian theology is understood in terms of systemic and structural relationships between two main groups: victims (the oppressed) and victimizers (oppressors). In Cone's context, writing in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the great event of Christ's liberation was freeing African Americans from the centuries-old tyranny of white racism and white oppression.
American white theology, which Cone never clearly defines, is charged with having failed to help blacks in the struggle for liberation. Black theology exists because "white religionists" failed to relate the gospel of Jesus to the pain of being black in a white racist society.
For black theologians, white Americans do not have the ability to recognize the humanity in persons of color, blacks need their own theology to affirm their identity in terms of a reality that is anti-black -- “blackness” stands for all victims of white oppression. "White theology," when formed in isolation from the black experience, becomes a theology of white oppressors, serving as divine sanction from criminal acts committed against blacks. Cone argues that even those white theologians who try to connect theology to black suffering rarely utter a word that is relevant to the black experience in America. White theology is not Christian theology at all. There is but one guiding principle of black theology: an unqualified commitment to the black community as that community seeks to define its existence in the light of God's liberating work in the world.
As such, black theology is a survival theology because it helps blacks navigate white dominance in American culture. In Cone's view, whites consider blacks animals, outside of the realm of humanity, and attempted to destroy black identity through racial assimilation and integration programs--as if blacks have no legitimate existence apart from whiteness. Black theology is the theological expression of a people deprived of social and political power. God is not the God of white religion but the God of black existence. In Cone's understanding, truth is not objective but subjective -- a personal experience of the Ultimate in the midst of degradation.
The echoes of Cone's theology bleed through the now infamous, anti-Hilary excerpt by Rev. Wright. Clinton is among the oppressing class ("rich white people") and is incapable of understanding oppression ("ain't never been called a n-gg-r") but Jesus knows what it was like because he was "a poor black man" oppressed by "rich white people." While Black Liberation Theology is not main stream in most black churches, many pastors in Wright's generation are burdened by Cone's categories which laid the foundation for many to embrace Marxism and a distorted self-image of the perpetual "victim."
Black Liberation Theology as Marxist Victimology.
Black Liberation Theology actually encourages a victim mentality among blacks. John McWhorters' book Losing the Race, will be helpful here. Victimology, says McWhorter, is the adoption of victimhood as the core of one's identity -- for example, like one who suffers through living in "a country and who lived in a culture controlled by rich white people." It is a subconscious, culturally inherited affirmation that life for blacks in America has been in the past and will be in the future a life of being victimized by the oppression of whites. In today's terms, it is the conviction that, 40 years after the Civil Rights Act, conditions for blacks have not substantially changed. As Wright intimates, for example, scores of black men regularly get passed over by cab drivers.
Reducing black identity to "victimhood" distorts the reality of true progress. For example, was Obama a victim of widespread racial oppression at the hand of "rich white people" before graduating from Columbia University, Harvard Law School magna cum laude, or after he acquired his estimated net worth of $1.3 million? How did "rich white people" keep Obama from succeeding? If Obama is the model of an oppressed black man, I want to be oppressed next! With my graduate school debt my net worth is literally negative $52,659.
The overall result, says McWhorter, is that "the remnants of discrimination hold an obsessive indignant fascination that allows only passing acknowledgement of any signs of progress." Jeremiah Wright, infused with victimology, wielded self-righteous indignation in the service of exposing the inadequacies Hilary Clinton's world of "rich white people." The perpetual creation of a racial identity born out of self-loathing and anxiety often spends more time inventing reasons to cry racism than working toward changing social mores, and often inhibits movement toward reconciliation and positive mobility.
McWhorter articulates three main objections to victimology: First, victimology condones weakness in failure. Victimology tacitly stamps approval on failure, lack of effort, and criminality. Behaviors and patterns that are self-destructive are often approved of as cultural or presented as unpreventable consequences from previous systemic patterns. Black Liberation theologians are clear on this point: "People are poor because they are victims of others," says Dr. Dwight Hopkins, a Black Liberation theologian teaching at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Second, victimology hampers progress because, from the outset, it focuses attention on obstacles. For example, in Black liberation Theology, the focus is on the impediment of black freedom in light of the Goliath of white racism.
Third, victimology keeps racism alive because many whites are constantly painted as racist with no evidence provided. Racism charges create a context for backlash and resentment fueling new attitudes among whites not previously held or articulated, and creates "separatism" -- a suspension of moral judgment in the name of racial solidarity. Does Jeremiah Wright foster separatism or racial unity and reconciliation?
For Black Liberation theologians, Sunday is uniquely tied to redefining their sense of being human within a context of marginalization. "Black people who have been humiliated and oppressed by the structures of White society six days of the week gather together each Sunday morning in order to experience another definition of their humanity," says James Cone in his book Speaking the Truth (1999).
Many black theologians believe that both racism and socio-economic oppression continue to augment the fragmentation between whites and blacks. Historically speaking, it makes sense that black theologians would struggle with conceptualizing social justice and the problem of evil as it relates to the history of colonialism and slavery in the Americas.
Is Black Liberation Theology helping? Wright's liberation theology has stirred up resentment, backlash, Obama defections, separatism, white guilt, caricature, and offense. Preaching to a congregation of middle-class blacks about their victim identity invites a distorted view of reality, fosters nihilism, and divides rather than unites.
Black Liberation Is Marxist Liberation.
One of the pillars of Obama's home church, Trinity United Church of Christ, is "economic parity." On the website, Trinity claims that God is not pleased with "America's economic mal-distribution." Among all of controversial comments by Jeremiah Wright, the idea of massive wealth redistribution is the most alarming. The code language "economic parity" and references to "mal-distribution" is nothing more than channeling the twisted economic views of Karl Marx. Black Liberation theologians have explicitly stated a preference for Marxism as an ethical framework for the black church because Marxist thought is predicated on a system of oppressor class (whites) versus victim class (blacks).
Black Liberation theologians James Cone and Cornel West have worked diligently to embed Marxist thought into the black church since the 1970s. For Cone, Marxism best addressed remedies to the condition of blacks as victims of white oppression. In For My People, Cone explains that "the Christian faith does not possess in its nature the means for analyzing the structure of capitalism. Marxism as a tool of social analysis can disclose the gap between appearance and reality, and thereby help Christians to see how things really are."
In God of the Oppressed, Cone said that Marx's chief contribution is "his disclosure of the ideological character of bourgeois thought, indicating the connections between the 'ruling material force of society' and the 'ruling intellectual' force." Marx's thought is useful and attractive to Cone because it allows black theologians to critique racism in America on the basis of power and revolution.
For Cone, integrating Marx into black theology helps theologians see just how much social perceptions determine theological questions and conclusions. Moreover, these questions and answers are "largely a reflection of the material condition of a given society."
In 1979, Cornel West offered a critical integration of Marxism and black theology in his essay, "Black Theology and Marxist Thought" because of the shared human experience of oppressed peoples as victims. West sees a strong correlation between black theology and Marxist thought because "both focus on the plight of the exploited, oppressed and degraded peoples of the world, their relative powerlessness and possible empowerment." This common focus prompts West to call for "a serious dialogue between Black theologians and Marxist thinkers" -- a dialogue that centers on the possibility of "mutually arrived-at political action."
In his book Prophesy Deliverance, West believes that by working together, Marxists and black theologians can spearhead much-needed social change for those who are victims of oppression. He appreciates Marxism for its "notions of class struggle, social contradictions, historical specificity, and dialectical developments in history" that explain the role of power and wealth in bourgeois capitalist societies. A common perspective among Marxist thinkers is that bourgeois capitalism creates and perpetuates ruling-class domination -- which, for black theologians in America, means the domination and victimization of blacks by whites. America has been over run by "White racism within mainstream establishment churches and religious agencies," writes West.
Perhaps it is the Marxism imbedded in Obama's attendance at Trinity Church that should raise red flags. "Economic parity" and "distribution" language implies things like government-coerced wealth redistribution, perpetual minimum wage increases, government subsidized health care for all, and the like. One of the priorities listed on Obama's campaign website reads, "Obama will protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families, but he will reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers."
Black Liberation Theology, originally intended to help the black community, may have actually hurt many blacks by promoting racial tension, victimology, and Marxism which ultimately leads to more oppression. As the failed "War on Poverty" has exposed, the best way to keep the blacks perpetually enslaved to government as "daddy" is to preach victimology, Marxism, and to seduce blacks into thinking that upward mobility is someone else's responsibility in a free society.
Anthony B. Bradley is a research fellow at the Acton Institute, and assistant professor of theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. His Ph.D. dissertation is titled, "Victimology in Black Liberation Theology." This article was originally published on the newsletter of the Glen Beck Program. Watch Bradley’s guest appearance on Beck’s CNN Headline News show.
The modern American origins of contemporary black liberation theology can be traced to July 31, 1966, when an ad hoc group of 51 black pastors, calling themselves the National Committee of Negro Churchmen (NCNC), bought a full page ad in the New York Times to publish their "Black Power Statement," which proposed a more aggressive approach to combating racism using the Bible for inspiration.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright was introduced to black liberation theology at University of Chicago's Divinity School. Wright would cite the works of James Cone and Dwight Hopkins who are considered the leading theologians of this system of belief, although now there are many scholars who have contributed a great deal to the field. Wright built up Trinity United Church of Christ with a vision statement based on the theology laid out by James Cone. Asked in an interview which church most embodied his message, Cone replied "I would point to that church (Trinity) first. Short clips of his sermons which called for God to condemn America and credited the government for creating the AIDS virus would receive heavy criticism as and became a major topic of presidential debates.
Wright claimed that criticism of his theology constituted an attack on the black church, although probably no more than a quarter of black pastors today would describe their theology as liberationist.. Trinity United Church Christ is one of the few that specifically incorporates black liberation theology into its vision statement. The press reported that candidate Obama publically rejected Wright, "decrying his...latest remarks as 'a bunch of rants that aren't grounded in the truth.'"
James Cone and Black Liberation Theology.
Liberation theology as it has expressed itself in the African-American community seeks to find a way to make the gospel relevant to black people who must struggle daily under the burden of white oppression.
James Cone defines the theology thus:
On God and Jesus Christ.
Cone based much of his liberationist theology on God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. For Cone, the theme of Yahweh’s concern was for “the lack of social, economic, and political justice for those who are poor and unwanted in society.” Cone also says that the same God is working for the oppressed blacks of the 20th century, and that “God is helping oppressed blacks and has identified with them, God Himself is spoken of as ‘black’.”
Cone saw Christ from the aspect of oppression and liberation. Cone uses the Gospel of Luke to illustrate this point: “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them.” “‘In Christ,’ Cone argues, ‘God enters human affairs and takes sides with the oppressed. Their suffering becomes his; their despair, divine despair.’”
Cone’s view is that Jesus was black, which he felt was a very important view of black people to see. "It's very important because you've got a lot of white images of Christ. In reality, Christ was not white, not European. That's important to the psychic and to the spiritual consciousness of black people who live in a ghetto and in a white society in which their lord and savior looks just like people who victimize them. God is whatever color God needs to be in order to let people know they're not nobodies, they're somebodies."
I will not vote for Barack Obama.
Here are my reasons. He has, by his own words, established to me that he is a racist, narcissistic, he has Marxist leanings (not only because of the theology of the church he attended, but also by his reference to the “new world” under nationalism and his design to redistribute wealth through taxes), he want our Constitution interpreted in light of world opinion and not in light of original intent, he wants to weaken our military might (TV clips as well as statements here), and, he has not shown one thing to establish he is a Christian as he has proclaimed. If he said he was not a Christian, it would not be a issue. But to make such an issue of it then deny the fundamentals of the faith in his writings and to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of the simplest of Bible passages (afer twenty years in church) creates a problem. There is an old adage I use. “If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, don’t tell me it’s a rabbit.”
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